Fringe comedy review: Poser by Emily Benita

Poser is a ‘comedessay’ about the past couple of years of Emily Benita’s life, creatively and personally.

Last year, when Emily Benita did her first Fringe show, people told her she was 'brave'.
Last year, when Emily Benita did her first Fringe show, people told her she was 'brave'.

Poser, by Emily Benita ***

“Is it really theatre?” Ten years’ ago, this was a discussion that we often seemed to have when a show was made up of more than 30 per cent film footage. I’d usually argue that it was, particularly if I liked it.

But as the Edinburgh Fringe Pandemic Special Edition is now revealing, through shows-about-shows-that-can-no-longer-be-shows, including this thought provoking one-woman exploration of self-expression versus self-promotion, by sometimes stand-up Emily Benita, perhaps there is a genre that sits somewhere between the two forms – and can shapeshift when necessary.

Energetically edited clips juxtaposing Emily’s work as a life model with posting selfies online and performing on stage are brought together by a wryly observed, noir-esque narration on what it means to be “brave”, while the meta-mechanics of writing about this are gleefully exposed and unpicked.

The strange sadness of delivering witty observations to an audience rendered silent through space gives a comic-tragic melancholy to the constellation of images, thoughts and ideas on exhibitionism in its many forms – one that gets a little lost in its own existential analysis in places and, at 26 minutes, has yet to reach any big bang-style conclusions, but instead sparks an intimate discussion with the distant audience, an unheard partner in a shared conversation.

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